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Fertility Rates Are Down And First-Time Moms Are Waiting Longer To Have Kids

Fertility rates have dropped and women are waiting longer to have kids.

A new report published Wednesday from the Centers of Disease Control shows fertility rates have dropped over the past decade.

Between 2007 and 2017, fertility rates have dropped 12% and 18% in larger urban areas. Rates dropped 12% in suburban areas.

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New moms are also getting older. For example, the average age for a first-time mother living in a rural county in 2017 was 24-years-old and 25 -years-old in suburban areas. For black women, the average age for new mothers gained 1.7 years in rural, 1.9 years in suburban and 2.4 years in urban regions over the 10-year study.  African-American women also have a higher fertility rate in rural counties, which is good news since another recent report from the CDC found that black women are six times more likely to experience pregnancy-related deaths.

Figure 1. Total fertility rate, by urbanization level: United States, 2007–2017 Source: CDC

Figure 1 has 3 trend lines showing the total fertility rate for rural, small and medium metro, and large metro from 2007 through 2017.

1Significant decreasing trend for 2007–2011 (p < 0.05); stable trend for 2011–2017.
2Significant decreasing trend for 2007–2017 (p < 0.05).
3Significant difference in rate compared with rural counties for all years (p < 0.05).
NOTES: Total fertility rate is based on births per 1,000 women in a specified area. County designation is based on the mother’s county of residence. County classification is based on the 2006 and 2013 NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties. Access data table for Figure 1.
SOURCE: NCHS, National Vital Statistics System, 2007–2017.

 

Figure 4. Mean age at first birth, by race and Hispanic origin and urbanization level: United States, 2007 and 2017

Figure 4 is a bar chart showing the mean age at first birth for rural, small and medium metro, and large metro (y-axis) for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women (x-axis) for 2007 and 2017.

• Significant increase in mean age for all urbanization levels between 2007 and 2017 (p < 0.05).
• Significant difference in mean age between rural counties and small or medium metro counties, and rural counties and large metro counties for 2007 and 2017 (p < 0.05).

NOTES: County designation is based on mother’s county of residence. County classification is based on the 2006 and 2013 NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties. Access data table for Figure 4.
SOURCE: NCHS, National Vital Statistics System, 2007 and 2017.

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“The differences in total fertility rates and mothers mean age at first birth between rural and metro areas widened over the study period,” the study noted. “Declines in total fertility rates and increases in mean maternal age were also observed for women of each race and Hispanic-origin group, non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic, by urbanization level from 2007 to 2017. The mean age at first birth was lower for each race and Hispanic-origin group in rural counties than in small or medium metro counties, or in large metro counties, with the differences widening over the study period.”

In other words, most women are in no rush to have kids. New moms in their 30s and 40s are no longer a taboo thing. This past summer, The New York Times released a survey that listed the top reasons women are either waiting or no longer want to have children.

Those reasons include:

  • Child care is too expensive
  • Want more time for the children I have
  • Worried about the economy
  • Can’t afford more children
  • Waited because of financial instability
  • Want more leisure time
  • Not enough paid family leave
  • No paid family leave
  • Worried about global instability
  • Struggle with work-life balance
  • Worried about domestic politics
  • Met a partner too late
  • Worried about climate change
  • Responsible for other family care
  • Worried about population growth
  • Prioritized my education and career
  • Split from my partner
  • Partner doesn’t want children
  • Don’t think I’m a good parent

We live in a society where getting married and starting a family is no longer the number one responsibility for young women, thank goodness. Today millennial women are more focused on getting themselves together ( aka living their best lives) climbing the top of their careers, branding their own brands ( African-American women recently made headlines for being the fast-growing entrepreneurial group in the country), traveling, happy hour and dating “with purpose”. And if  we date with purpose , hopefully we find that person that turns out to be someone we wouldn’t mind growing with and wants to put a ring on it. But even then, we’re still waiting on the kids and rather get a dog first.

Photo Credit: 123rf

By Alexia McKay

Twitter: @alexiamckayprod

Facebook: facebook.com/alexiamckayprod 

CEO/EIC of RoyalTee Magazine